Eliza Vanda’s Button Box by Emily Rodda
Buttons three, attend to me!
Take me where I want to be!
No one saw Eliza Vanda arrive in Tidgy Bay that rainy winter afternoon. The sign advertising “Cabins for Rent” was almost hidden by a pile of builder’s rubble, but Eliza Vanda didn’t seem at all put out by the mess.
“This is a nice little pocket,” she said. “It should suit us very well.”
Life hasn’t been much fun for Milly Dynes lately. There seem to be problems everywhere she looks. She’s always loved her home in Tidgy Bay, but at the moment she wishes she was somewhere — anywhere — else.
Then Eliza Vanda turns up-and magic comes with her …
A sparkling new fantasy adventure from multi award-winning author Emily Rodda.
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1. During Reading
Milly feels as if “the earth was shifting under her feet” (p13) because of all the changes in her life – the new baby, starting high school, and so on.
- What else makes her feel worried?
- How do you feel when big changes happen in your life?
- Write about a time when in your life when you went through a big change that made you feel scared or nervous.
— How did it turn out?
— Were you surprised by anything that happened?
One of the first things that tells Milly that she is in a new world when she visits Blanca is when she sees mysies living in people’s hair.
- What are the mysies?
- Do we have mysies here? What do we have instead?
- Would life be easier if our ‘big’ emotions were creatures we had to care for?
— Make a list of five advantages, and five disadvantages, of mysies.
- Imagine that your emotions appeared as mysies — creatures living outside your body. Which five emotions do you think would be mysies?
— What would each one look like?
— Zollo Rainbird has to put his temper mysie into a cage to keep in under control. Which of your mysies do you think would be the strongest?
— How would you control it?
Why do you think Victor turns into a mouse in some places?
- How different do you think the world would look if you were a mouse?
- Write a day in the life of Victor the mouse.
2. After Reading
In the book, Eliza Vanda keeps three buttons from each ‘pocket’ that she’s visited.
- Why does she do this?
- Invent a place that Eliza Vanda might have travelled to. What kind of people live there?
— Are they the same or different from us?
— Draw the three buttons that would take you to a place like that.
Mrs Meaney is mean to Milly, her father and Eliza Vanda, even when they are polite to her.
- What do you think Mrs Meaney is so angry about?
- Milly shows great kindness towards her when she convinces Eliza Vanda to help free Sultan from the mirror, even though Mrs Meaney has been so awful to them. What does Milly say to convince Eliza Vanda?
- Most people aren’t born thinking the worst of everyone the way Mrs Meaney does, something (or a series of things) happens to make them think or be that way. What do you think might have happened to Mrs Meaney?
- Write the story of the day Mrs Meaney adopted Sultan. Why is he so special to her?
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